GRANDVIEW — A very familiar face, in a very new role will be seen at Yakima Valley College’s (YVC) Grandview campus beginning Tuesday, Aug. 20.
Rusty Marquis, master teacher of more than 15 years with Yakima Valley College assumes the role of Interim Dean for the lower valley’s educational campus.
Marquis replaces Dr. Marcia Somer, who passed away in September of last year.
While admitting to some nerves, Marquis says he is an individual with unapologetic passion for education and for his students.
He feels he ready to listen, learn and support the excellence in programming already in place in Grandview.
With his appointment, Marquis is walking the walk he asks of his students and his own children: learn, apply, do hard things, take a leap when it’s offered.
He is an alum of Yakima’s Davis High School, class of 1996 and Yakima Valley College, class of 1998. He has a Bachelor’s in Education earned from Washington State and a completed master’s with another underway.
During an early portion of his educational period he took a trip to Michoacan, Mexico area and fell in love with the language and culture. This experience provided Marquis the impetus to learn Spanish and stay connected to the country’s history, people and language.
Marquis taught English as Second Language (ESL), then took on a stint with the Boy Scouts and cared for his aging parents, traveling between Prosser, Bickleton, upper and lower valley. Through it all, Marquis said he was drawn to returning to the classroom.
He began as an Adjunct Instructor with YVC in 2006 teaching Adult Basic Education and ESL. He then spent two years on the Grandview campus.
When the opportunity to move to Toppenish presented, he took it. He saw a way to contribute to the education program in the small, remote community. He worked on programming, curriculum while providing outreach to students who live in the margins but want to learn.
It has been the most rewarding experience, until now.
While certified to teach everything from language arts to math, his passion remains for history and for each of his students who struggle to succeed.
Marquis is fresh off a 2018-2019 working sabbatical to South America.
His plans were to return to his Toppenish classroom and resume his regular teaching duties.
When approached by YVC leadership to consider the Dean role, Marquis stated, “I put a lot, a lot, of thought into this. In the back of my mind, maybe down the line, this would be something I would want to consider.”
But consider it he did. He feels he is equipped to take on a different role and plans to support Grandview instructors
“I want to support staff, do everything I can to help continue the great amount of success already in place. It’s an absolute honor,” Marquis stated.